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Author: Sarah Owen

Oh, Snap!

Oh, Snap!

With so-called "card check" legislation effectively dead with little (if any) hope for resuscitation, attention now turns to the newest battle brewing between labor unions and industry/business interests: "quickie" (or "snap") union elections. On June 21, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) proposed reforms of the procedures it follows prior and subsequent to conducting secret ballot elections to determine if employees wish to be represented by unions for collective Read more […]

But will it help?

But will it help?

The "Campaign to Cut Waste" is underway! On June 13, President Obama announced that he was putting Vice President Joe Biden in charge of a new initiative, the aforementioned "Campaign," which aims to save billions of dollars by rooting out government waste. Some of the priorities include rewriting wasteful government contracts, selling off federal property, reducing improper payments under government assistance programs, and cutting unnecessary administrative costs.  (Did Read more […]

Not Just Handbags and Watches…Counterfeits Kill

Not Just Handbags and Watches…Counterfeits Kill

While the NEMA Signaling, Protection and Communication Section (03SB) was meeting in Seattle last week and discussing the latest research, codes, regulations and legislation impacting smoke/fire and carbon monoxide detection, a story broke in Atlanta that is downright scary: thousands of counterfeit smoke alarms were installed in Atlanta homes by the city's fire department. CBS Atlanta broke the story last Wednesday, citing an investigation that found that over 18,000 counterfeit Read more […]

"It’s a great idea, but…"

"It’s a great idea, but…"

Anyone keeping an eye on Congress can tell you that they are focused on one thing: the federal budget. Cutting spending is back in vogue, and a possible government shutdown looms if agreement on how much to cut isn't reached soon. The frustrating thing about discretionary spending cuts is that while they allow members of Congress to issue press releases about doing their part to control government spending and reduce the federal deficit, in truth, it won't get the Read more […]

9 Days and Counting…

9 Days and Counting…

In just nine days, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) officially launches its Publicly Available Consumer Product Safety Information Database on SaferProducts.gov. The database, which was mandated by Congress as part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvements Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-314), has been the subject of much debate since its inception, and even more so as the March 11 launch looms imminent. The well-intentioned purpose of the database is to provide consumers with Read more […]

Regulatory Reform is the Watchword

Regulatory Reform is the Watchword

As the economy begins to recover and businesses start to plan for growth, all eyes are on Washington and the prospects for regulatory reform. The time and costs of understanding and complying with a myriad of regulatory requirements imposed by a numerous federal agencies is frustrating for industry, and American businesses are looking to Congress for answers. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, federal agencies promulgated 43 major new regulations, with several others in the works going into FY 2011. In…

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The Day After…and the Next Two Years

The Day After…and the Next Two Years

Election Day 2010 is (mostly) behind us – looking in the rearview mirror, here is what we now know: The Numbers: Republicans will control the U.S. House of Representatives in the 112th Congress, achieving a net gain of 60+ seats (8 races still uncalled). Democrats will retain control of the U.S. Senate, albeit it by slimmer margins – Republicans gained at least 6 seats (2 remain uncalled), falling short of the 10 needed to take control. There will be over a hundred…

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The Difference a Word Makes

The Difference a Word Makes

Last week, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a notice in the Federal Register requesting feedback on its proposed interpretation of the word "feasible" with respect to noise exposure standards. After reading what OSHA has proposed, I can assure you that the change in interpretation is by no means insignificant. OSHA's General Industry and Construction Occupational Noise Exposure standards require employers to use "feasible administrative or engineering Read more […]

13 Interesting Days…

13 Interesting Days…

With less than two weeks until Election Day and control of Congress hanging in the balance, the stakes are high for both major political parties in getting out the vote on November 2. If you believe the polls, Republicans and Tea Party advocates appear more enthusiastic about turning out to vote this year than Democrats, and the GOP is poised to make significant gains in the House and Senate. Democrats are in jeopardy of losing control of the House (pundits currently are…

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Clean Air Act: 40 Years and Counting…

Clean Air Act: 40 Years and Counting…

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Clean Air Act (CAA), the preeminent federal law enacted by Congress in 1970 to combat air pollution.  The CAA defines the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) responsibilities for protecting and improving the nation’s air quality. According to EPA, since 1970 the six commonly found air pollutants have decreased by more than 50 percent, while air toxics from large industrial sources have been reduced by nearly 70 percent. EPA’s Read more […]